For more than 20 years, NPHW has helped spotlight important activities that don’t always receive the acclaim they deserve, but function effectively behind the scenes to help insure a healthier Will County. We understand that public health isn’t always in the headlines, but it’s always there for the community; working hard to strengthen families, empower children, and monitor the potential for infectious diseases that can threaten community health.
We think about NPHW when we work in area schools, educating students about the dangers of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and tobacco use. Our division is currently working with Valley View School District 365U and the Village of Bolingbrook on a five-year, grant funded initiative targeting high rates of teen pregnancy and STIs. This evidence-based initiative provides resources allocated to developing programs, implementing training, and curriculum with the help of community health educators.
Since 1999, the Division’s Tobacco Control and Prevention initiative has been working on one of Public Health’s most pressing priorities; reducing the incidence of tobacco use throughout the community. The program works for the passage of policies that restrict tobacco use in parks, multi-unit housing, worksites, and schools. Staff is also responsible for the coordination and implementation of Smoke-Free Illinois Act enforcement.
The work done on behalf of reducing Will County tobacco use continues to make a difference. County tobacco use is at an all-time low. Adult tobacco use has plummeted to 13.5 percent, and smoking among area 12th-graders has dropped to 12 percent.
Our educational reach also extends far beyond the classroom. HealthWorks of Illinois is a comprehensive health care program for children under 21 years old who are in custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. This health care system is designed to meet the medical needs of children in foster care by providing case management services.
The All Our Kids (AOK) Early Childhood Network is a community-based collaboration that is committed to developing a high quality, well-coordinated and easily accessible system of care that will promote positive growth and development for children from birth to five years, and their families. Similarly, the Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Reporting System (APORS), Better Birth Outcomes Program and the Genetics Program all provide support for infants, young children and their families.
As you can plainly see, the work performed by more than 90 Will County Family Health Services staff focuses on prevention, promotion and protection, all cornerstones of Public Health and NPHW. Please check back later in the week to learn more about our Communicable Disease Program, WIC, and Immunizations.